first up

The first 50 minutes are up (I said earlier that the conductors each get 40 minutes per session, but it is in fact 50), and it is the Czech Jiri Rozen who has finished his first turn.

A nice moment: after rehearsing a passage he drops his hands and says a big thankyou. The orchestra give him a clap and tap a few bows on stands, and give him a smile that must surely encourage him. But, ha ha, he’s not going anywhere just yet! He still has 5 minutes of his time left.

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Day 3: Introduction (and an obvious pun)

The action today moves to the Barbican concert hall, and it’s the full might of the London Symphony Orchestra who will confront our plucky young conductors this morning.

With half an hour or so to go before rehearsals begin, I’ve seen one of them wandering about the Barbican foyer looking rather nonplussed by it all. I don’t suppose the others are far behind.

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Who will it be?

It’s the final stretch of the gig for the Guildhall orchestra, the last hour of a pretty intensive two days. The last we see of the two soloists too.

Personally, I love the Sibelius violin concerto so it was a pleasure to hear Rose Hsien play it so consistently well, and at full throttle, throughout the day. As for Arthur Boutillier, it turns out that in my other life as a viola player we played at a random function together as part of a small string group in a conference venue in Watford. So, nice to get to hear him in his more natural environment! What a fantastic by both of them, and every success to them in the future.

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The finalists are...

…Elim Chan, Jiri Rozen and Mihhail Gerts.

Congratulations to all three, who now face a busy night preparing for the competition. Or will they decide, like the previous winner Alexandre Bloch, just to get a really good night’s sleep?

See you tomorrow!

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upright fashion

The first part of the afternoon session is a tale of three upright men. I’m talking about posture, of course. Rafal Janiak, Mihhail Gerts and Giancarlo Rizzi are on the taller side anyway, but they all stand up straight.

But you shouldn’t imagine that means they are rigid in their movements, and the seriousness of their demeanour doesn’t mean they come across as overly earnest. They even manage to get a laugh or two out of the orchestra once or twice. (If you are looking for laughs, though, best not tap your baton on the stand – naming no names, but it does sound a bit like swearing in church, so rarely do you hear it.)

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